'A cultural change:' Ford loosens leash at Dearborn HQ, now a dog-friendly office

December 06, 2019, 3:02 PM

Ford Motor Co. is trying a relaxed-workplace policy usually seen at small creative agencies and West Coast tech startups, rather than the headquarters of a 116-year-old manufacturer.

"A pilot program offered to 1,300 office employees at Ford [is] allowing them to bring their dogs to work," Automotive News reports Friday. "It's part of a larger effort by Ford to attract hard-to-get tech talent to the Motor City."

Having pets around " just relaxes everybody," says Ford's new top financial officer, who started the practice in April.
(Posed photo: DepositPhotos)

Participants in Dearborn include the new chief financial officer, Keith Naughton writes for the industry news site:

Wander past Tim Stone’s glass-walled office on the 12th floor of Ford’s world headquarters on any given day and lying at his feet is his lively, 7-year-old Australian shepherd, Finley.

... Stone, 52, spent two decades at Amazon, rising to vice president of finance. When he started at Ford in April, he didn't think twice about bringing his furry friend to the conservative confines of Ford's headquarters. ... "It's been a cultural change," Stone said.

"I was the first one to bring my dog in every day and when you start doing that, the tone from the top matters. ... It totally changed the dynamic in so many ways," he said. "It just relaxes everybody."

As the automaker works to lure young engineers and designers for electric and autonomous vehicle projects, it promotes redesigned offices, an urban mobility  campus in Corktown and now the pets-welcome experiment.  

Seattle and Silicon Valley have long been veritable Fido fiefdoms, where tech giants and startups welcome workers’ four-legged friends as a way to enhance work-life balance. Studies have shown that all-day access to man’s best friend can reduce stress, improve productivity and possibly even curb employee turnover. ...

Ford already has hired more than 3,000 workers with advanced computing skills, but it still needs hundreds more software engineers, data scientists, app developers, digital media specialists and more, Chief Talent Officer Julie Lodge-Jarrett wrote in a blog post Friday. 

Her post at Medium says:

We ... are modernizing our workplaces to make this work more enjoyable, led by our Dearborn campus transformation, dogs-at-work pilots and even free coffee. 

Read more:  Automotive News

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